Friday, September 12, 2008

I See... Defeating Terrorism in a 9/11 World

The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) is a tough problem to wrap our brains around. Americans have not seen a war like this since Americans were American. Traditional balance-of power theories that can explain modern war do not explain GWOT. This is not a war for independence (our first war), for states rights (our Civil War), or even for global power and domination (every war since then). It is a holy war for our hearts and souls. The radical Islam world wants the hearts and souls of Americans who are free to choose freedom over fanaticism. Well, they can’t have mine, and I hope they don’t have yours, either.


Once we know what they are after, the formula for victory is simple. The point of terrorism is to invoke and inspire fear to get your way. Al Qaeda’s hope is that via the attacks of 9/11, our confidence will be overwhelmed by the fear of death and destruction. The solution is found in the plan of salvation. Has anyone told Al Qaeda that God, a God who even loves them in their iniquities, has blessed us with free agency? And with that free agency, we can choose to replace fear with faith? Replace death and destruction with martyrs and monuments?


We can. This is our gift and our blessing; to replace fear with faith, and death and destruction with martyrs and monuments. We win the fight by not remembering the attack, but by memorializing the heroes who died that day saving others. Those who choose to lose by living in fear are giving away the victory.


Faith without works is dead. In the global war on terrorism, if we choose to have faith in a future without fear, our works should include ignoring and eradicating the symbols and images of terror meant to steal our hearts and souls. For me, that means no more images of exploding towers and bloodied bodies. It means focusing on that which uplifts and inspires us in the face of terror: the stories of those who sacrificed their lives that day, as well as of those soldiers and families who sacrifice so much today in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to rob terrorism of its roots.

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